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Coate Stone Circle — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Coate Stone Circle</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Coate Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

This little visited site is situated on the outskirts of Swindon. It is a runied stone circle which now consists of an arc of 5 stones. Dayhouse Lane bisects the intact remains of the circle and the vansihed half.

All five stones have fallen but each is significantly bigger than those of the nearby Winterbourne Basset circle.

This site was discussed on the Forum in summer 2002. Liddington Castle and the Ridgeway are clearly visible from here. It is on a direct aligment with Barbury Castle and Avebury to the south.

Liddington Castle (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Liddington Castle</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Liddington Castle</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Liddington Castle</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Liddington Castle (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

A three hour walk north along the Ridgeway from Avebury brings you to the edge of the Marlborough Downs and the foot of Liddington Hill. Liddington Castle Hillfort will be a familiar landmark to many as it is visible to the south of the M4 motorway between junctions 15 and 16. At 3 hectares it is somewaht smaller than the nearby Barbury Castle (4.7 hectares) and has only one ditch rather than two. It is however considerably quieter, is about 50 foot higher and offers better views of the Marlborough Downs than Barbury. An entrance at the south east is defined by a few half buried sarsens. Pottery from the early Iron Age has been found here and on the northern escarpment are some neolithic flint mines.

Walking up the hill from the Ridgeway the flint mines are encountered after a couple of minutes and mole hills regularly bring flint waste to the surface.

This visit (31/12/02) was my first time here for about 20 years. The erosion to the site is noticeable as is the vandalism to the Triangulation Point which used to double up as a memorial to local writer Richard Jefferies. Jefferies famously came up here to write. Despite the proximity of the motorway and onward march of Swindon (the settlement and not, unfortunately, the football club) this remains a fine spot for quiet contemplation.


My 7 year old son got very confused here. As we walked up to the castle I recounted the story of King Arthur's victory here in the battle of Mons Badonicus. On spotting a memorial gate to Harry King (1910-1995) "who loved to walk on Liddington" my son quite justifiably asked why King Arthur didn't have a gate but King, Harry did.

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Trips to the nearby sites of Tinkiswood, St Lythans, Rhondda Stonehenge or Pontypridd Rocking Stone will inevitably lead to a brush with the City of Cardiff. From the Castle Grounds, the home of a modern stone circle, look up and look to the North you will see the long high ridge of the Garth.

This hill, or mountain, depending on your point of view is supposedly the inspiration for the film, "The man who went up a hill and came down a mountain". From the summit are impressive views across Cardiff and south to Exmoor whilst to the North, Pen y Fan and the Brecon Beacons can be clearly picked out.

There are five Bronze Age Burial Mounds here (five that is according to the CARN database, the rather jaded interpretation board suggests there are only four). Two stand out and are visible as nipples on the horizon overlooking Cardiff. The interpretation board in front of "burial mound number 2" warns sternly of the penalties for vandalising the site, yet this, the largest of the four mounds, sports an ugly triangulation pillar. Whilst despoiling the site it does produce the uncanny effect of making the mound look like a mini Glastonbury Tor from a distance.

The western-most mound (number 1 on the interpretation board) is seldom spotted by the frequent vistors to this viewpoint but it is my favourite. A small hollow provides shelter from the winds and a cosy bed from which the scurrying clouds overhead can be tracked. Some distance to the east is a long ridge running north-south which was built as a gun emplacement during the 1940s. I'll venture no opinion as to whether the intention was to shoot at the Germans or the English.

This site commands spectacular views for 360 degrees and I would suggest therefore that this was a high status burial. Any significant fires burnt in the vicinity of Tinkiswood/St Lythans to the south west or Pontypridd Rocking Stone to the North East would generate a pall of smoke easily visible from here. If you're visiting these other nearby sites you should really try to find time to take in the views from up here. Let me know on the forum if you're planning a visit as this is my local.

Oh, one more thing. It's ALWAYS windy up here.

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Maen Ceti (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Maen Ceti</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Maen Ceti</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Maen Ceti</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Maen Ceti</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Maen Ceti</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Drombohilly (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Drombohilly</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Llanfihangel Rogiet (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Links

CADW/Heritage Wales

Photographs of Standing Stone at Llanfihangl Rogiet and other sites in CADW's care.

Winterbourne Bassett (Stone Circle) — Links

Alastair's OTHER stone circles

Is it an outlier or part of the original circle?

Experimental Earthwork (Artificial Mound) — Miscellaneous

In 1960, the British Association constructed an experimental earthwork in the vicinity so that patterns of erosion and the behaviour of buried materials could be studied over a known period. So Hey folks, lets be careful with those picnics.

See Jewell, P.A. (ed) (1963) The Experimental Earthwork on Overton Down, Wilts. London: British Association for the Advancement of Science.

West Kennett (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>West Kennett</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

The Mother's Jam (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>The Mother's Jam</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

The Mother's Jam (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

This little valley of Sarsens tucked away between Fyfield and Overton Downs is as magical as ever.

Merrick's directions below are spot on. As you walk into the valley (after truning right off the track) the altar stone of the Mother's Jam lies 20 yards to the right of the biggest and most striking Sarsen. My strongest reaction was of a sarsen holiday camp, or more darkly, a megalithic version of invasion of the bodysnatchers - these were the pods ready to replace Avebury. The lichen and erosion patterns on these Sarsens are so familiar to the erect stones in the henge and avenues.

We joked about a Bronze Age geezer presiding over this huge Sarsen yard "Nah mate, can't do anything for your in that size or colour. We've got this big grey one though".

Avebury (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Avebury</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Avebury</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Avebury</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Overton Down Holed Stone and Beaker Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Overton Down Holed Stone and Beaker Settlement</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Overton Down Holed Stone and Beaker Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

I found this holed stone whilst looking for the Polisher. It lies at the heart of a Beaker Settlement on the North of Delling Copse which includes the deeply scoured and polished stone. Like Rhiannon, I do not intend to reveal the exact grid reference as going on stone safari on this part of the Downs is good for the soul. I use the safari metaphor with some reason as looking east across the fields to Rockley reminded me of the African plains, but without the Giraffes. Or Elephants.

Perhaps it's because I've recently returned from Cork, but this field reminded me a bit of Canrooksa in Glengarriff. Like that place, this site is important as an example of a relatively undisturbed ancient landscape. Dyer (1981) describes it as "probably the finest example of a prehistoric landscape in Southern Britain". Also, like Canrooska, the act of searching for a specific stone amongst a jigsaw of the prehistoric built environment and naturally occuring features puts you much more intune with the landscape.

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region) — Miscellaneous

"Grey Wethers or Sarsen Stones" is a cartographic shorthand (some of these stones really do look like sheep from a distance) and crops up on the map all over Fyfield and Overton Down. There may be some confusion caused by the use of this name therefore. It should not be confused with the Greywethers stone circle in Devonshire.

The Polisher — Images

<b>The Polisher</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>The Polisher</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>The Polisher</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

West Kennett Avenue (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Images

<b>West Kennett Avenue</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>West Kennett Avenue</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

West Kennett Avenue (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Fieldnotes

Walked down the Avenue at 9am on a Sunday morning after already having spent a good two hours or so on the henge. As ever we had the place to ourselves. Regardless of the time of day this place is, in my experience nearly always empty. So many people seem to rush round the henge totally oblivious to the Kennet Avenue let alone Adam and Eve on Beckhampton. The belly of Stukeley's snake looked fine today, the glistening silver dew and the vivid greens and browns of the surrounding fields conjured up a child's felt-tip picture of this Solemne Walke.

The early morning light made the stones glimmer and encouraged me in my pathetic photgraphic attempts to emulate Max Milligan (more like Spike Milligan said Mrs RBD). The RBD children were delighted to find the axe marks at the south-eastern base of stone 19.

The excavations at Falkners Circle were in full swing when we passed again later that day on the way back to Marlborough.

Much has been written about this place but I wanted to reflect upon what Burl (1993) regarded as the minor mystery of the 16 missing stones. Between Aubrey's 1663 visit and Stukeley's 1723 visit, 16 large sarsens (stones nos. 5a-12b) were removed. There is no evidence of burning or burying. The familiar ugly obelisks now stand in their place at the Northernmost part of the Avenue.

Devil's Den (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Devil's Den</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Devil's Den</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Devil's Den</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Devil's Den (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited this site for the first time at the weekend. A sorry admission since I spent 18 years of childhood and youth in Swindon a few miles up the road and was a regular visitor to the Avebury henge and environs during that time.

Harvesting was well underway this weekend. Whilst walking up the field boundary to the dolmen, a farmer, presumably Kommisar Clatford, drove headlong towards (to the untrained eye damaging his own crops whilst doing so) to remind us that we were on private property. This is the field that Evelyn Francis, in her cute Avebury Wooden Book, suggests should be dedicated to St Pesticide. Mmm.

This farmer was angry as hell and pompous as well.

Deja vu at the Devil's Den. This was all too much like our recent experience in Cork and Kerry. I explained that little boys in shorts and 4 foot high stinging nettles don't make for a happy day out and he responded that that wasn't his problem. I enquired as to whose responsibility the management of the public footpath was and we then had a really fascinating exchange of opinions about the rights and wrongs of permissive access to national treaures.

After a sincere empathetic recital of the country code on my part - a useful skill I picked up when having a similar chat with a Corkmam farmer a few weeks ago - he gave us permission to walk on to the dolmen. His summing up, concluded "Technically no-one should be allowed in here as it [the Dolmen] is on private land. Still I suppose some people are better than others". Not sure what to make of that but I resisted the temptation to say the same thing to him!

This encounter detracted somewhat from the experience of visting this most un-Wiltshire-like place. More like the Dorset Hellstone than say, Devon's Spinster's Rock, this gnarled little specimen was a nettly oasis from the Combine Harvesters which surrounded us. I wasn't AS "moved" as others have clearly been here (but then my heart and soul really belongs to Gurranes) and was surprised to note the large slab of concrete holding the edifice up on its eastern side. Still a wondrous place mind you.

Winterbourne Bassett (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Winterbourne Bassett</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Winterbourne Bassett</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Winterbourne Bassett (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Stukeley's Itinerarium Curiousum (1724) includes one of his marvellous sketches of a "Celtic Temple" here at Winterbourne Bassett. The illustration, which is reproduced in John Michell's Megalithomania, depicts an 8 stone circle.

Only three stones now remain visible in the field to the south east of Lambourne Ground. The OS Map suggests a field with 7 stones, but curiously doesn't record the massive outlier at the junction of the road from Clyffe Pypard to Winterbourne Bassett.

A bit of investigative work at this site pays quick dividends. I counted what I took to be three of the missing stones partially obscured by lichen and summer undergrowth in ditches and boundaries around the junction.

The larger outlier can be seen on the horizon to the west in the photograph above.

Gorteanish (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Gorteanish</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Gorteanish (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

This multiple stone circle was, according to a local I met whilst visiting, "rediscovered" about a decade ago by the person responsible for establishing the Sheep's Head Way long-distance walk. Apologies, I forget the name, but he is commemorated by a memorial which was unveiled by the American Ambassaodr at the steps leading to the site. A real rarity this in Cork, I think only Drombeg and Kealkil can steer the megalitamanics gaze quite so clearly with such signage. The site is well sign-posted from the village of Ahakista and is a short walk from the fabulous tin pub. It is the only significant site on the Sheep's Head peninsula - a finger of land which is much less frequented by humans than either the Mizen or the Beara.

Since the Sheep's Head way was established the circle is now much easier to access, the site being partially cleared of the bracken and ferns which cover the low hills nearby.

Despite this it is still difficult to get a real feel for this place. Vegetation hems you in on all sides and the circle is in a ruinous state. I want to suggest that this is an 11 or 13 stone circle, and is about 7 yards in diameter. I was unsure about its orientation but I would suggest it was approximately SSE. The axis stone is now sheltered by a tree which has clasped its roots around the feet of the stone. Travelling on the road back towards the village of Ahakista I noticed a good example of an increasigly common site in Cork front gardens, "the pop stone row". Rather worryingly these looked like the real thing. I wonder if in millennia to come whether megalithamaniacs might be seeking out the stones currently located at the entrances to industrial estates?

If you go to this stone circle don't forget to vist the tin pub.

Canrooska (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Canrooska</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Canrooska</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Canrooska</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Canrooska</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Canrooska</b>Posted by RedBrickDream<b>Canrooska</b>Posted by RedBrickDream

Canrooska (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

This site has got everything. Stone circles, alignments, mass rocks, standing stones, boulder cairns. It is difficult to tell what's really going on here. The site of the stone circle is now regarded as one of the most important in Cork because it is contextualised in a relatively unaltered megalithic landscape.

My photogarphs illustrate some of the sites. Alignments similar to the Plague Market litter the hillside high up above Glengarriff, whilst the lane leading up through Rusnashunsgoe is flanked by a ditch comprised of what looks like discarded megaliths thatb would grace West Kennett Avenue. I'm no expert but there's an awful lot going on here. I suspect that this site may become even more important if the results of archaeological field surveys were more widely disseminated.

Bulls guarded much of the site, and if they don't spook you you'll get stuck in the mud or fall down a ditch whilst trying to follow the alignments. Its hard to tell what's naturally occuring here and what's not around this small cirlce but Jack Roberts makes the following comment on the stone circle and its associated sites. "[This] site is central to the megalithic landscape of the whole area. Ancient type of field systems, low walls of quite large boulders with ocassional uprights, and at least ten different types of monuments". After reading this extract I'm not entirely sure what it is I've photographed. I'm sure other visitors will enlighten me.
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30-something Wiltshireman now living in Cardiff. When not at work (as a housing academic) or coaching a local junior football team I'm often to be found with my camera at sites listed on TMA

Apart from Swindon's County Ground some of my favourite places include:
The Polisher

My TMA Content: